Taking care of an elderly loved one comes with many challenges that most families are not equipped to handle on their own. Having to attend work, school and other activities, staying with a homebound senior is just not feasible or desirable for most able mind and bodied people. That’s not to say that they don’t love or appreciate the senior members of the family, but with a growing number of health and safety concerns, many families choose to put their elderly loved one in a some sort of a senior care facility or adult day care program.
As they spend less and less time with an elderly family member, their bond can slowly start to diminish, and for those family members who live far apart, it’s often difficult to stay in touch with loved ones who are no longer living at home due to activities and appointments they might have scheduled throughout the day. While most people these days rely on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to keep in touch and share photos, those kinds of online spaces are not designed for the kind of security and intuitive use that is needed for family members, service users and care staff to use and connect on.
Cameron Graham saw the disconnect that occurs first hand when he was hospitalized for kidney failure and was inspired to start StoriiCare, a software platform for senior care providers. Over the past 3 years it has evolved into a senior care electronic health record and care management platform, designed to feel much like a social media website in order to be as easy to use as possible.. “We’ve really focused on practicalities and ease of use for staff,it’s designed to look like a social media platform…on top of that you can use StoriiCare on pretty much any device, through our apps or our website..,” Cameron says, explaining that while competitors require providers to spend multiple days training staff and families to use their systems, StoriiCare was built with the user in mind. The challenge then becomes when someone who’s never touched iPad suddenly wants to use StoriiCare, but for that, Graham has developed short two to three minute videos on the workings of each mobile device, and a quick explanation of how StoriiCare can be used on it. Graham continues, “often people’s biggest fear when using new technology is that they will somehow break it, but that is not the case with StoriiCare. We encourage exploration, as any action can be reversed or deleted.” At just twenty four years old, Graham is no stranger to technology. He was making money online from the early age of twelve, and started working on StoriiCare shortly after graduating from university.
However, while StoriiCare’s goal is to bring elderly patients, their families and senior care providers together, there is always the hidden element of elder abuse to consider, which most likely would not appear or be hidden from the smiling photos and professionally written progress reports shared on the StoriiCare platform. According to the National Council of Aging (NCOA), elder abuse includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, as well as exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Unfortunately, NCOA states that “perpetrators can include children, family members, and spouses – as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living and other facilities.” So, while StoriiCare may be a great way for the elderly to stay connected with their family members through photos and updates posted on the platform, no amount of technology can take the place of actually visiting someone who is confined in a home or assisted care facility. Whether family members use StoriiCare as an excuse to further alienate themselves from senior loved ones who only really want to be visited, and feel like they are still apart of the family they have cherished and cared for most of their lives, will determine the true success of StoriiCare, and if it is the great addition to the various care options available for seniors.
Graham’s dream for creating StoriiCare was to better connect caregivers with their seniors, and for family members to feel more connected to their elderly loved ones by posting photos and reading updates about their daily life. “I’ve always had a lot of respect for seniors…there’s always something that people can learn from their elderly family members or neighbors. Life is cyclical and we can always learn from them.” Graham has been featured in Care Home Professional as a 2017 Leader in Care, won the Scottish Edge Competition that same year, and the Startup Summit in 2016. Now implemented in facilities across both the United States and Britain, StoriiCare and the tech-savvy millennial running it are well on their way to permanently disrupting the business of senior care.